Boehner says Arizona has right to pass immigration laws, Democrats poised to unveil framework for immigration plan

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Rep. John Boehner declined to join a chorus of angry opponents of a state law in Arizona that, among other stipulations, requires that law enforcement asks residents for paperwork to prove they aren’t illegal immigrants.

“I think the people of Arizona have the right to pass their laws under the 10th amendment,” said Boehner during a news conference at the Capitol.

Echoing a GOP response line that the Arizona law would not have been necessary had Congress passed immigration reform during past attempts, Boehner said he thinks the resulting Arizona law “is clearly the result of the federal government’s failure to secure our borders and to enforce our law.”

Since the Arizona law was passed, both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have expressed concerns, as have a number of Republicans, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Lindsay Graham and Florida gubernatorial candidate Marco Rubio.

Opponents of the state law have called for boycotting the state in protest. Now, some conservatives are counter-protesting, encouraging supporters to spend money at Arizona stores in a “BUYcott” of the state.

Boehner called the notion of Democrats moving to work on immigration reform to be “nothing more than a cynical ploy to try to engage voters, some segment of voters, to show up in this November’s election.”

Sen. Harry Reid told a crowd in his home state of Nevada, where he’s facing a tough re-election battle, that Congress would take up immigration reform by the end of the year. Republicans have accused Democrats of using the issue to try to wedge a gap between the GOP and Hispanics.

Reid and other Democrats are holding a news conference Thursday afternoon to unveil a preliminary framework for immigration legislation.

While Boehner said he’d like an immigration reform plan to go through Congress, he said, “You can’t do immigration reform in the middle of boiling political pot in Washington, D.C.” Passing comprehensive immigration reform is impossible without bipartisan support, he said, and with it being an election year, “You can not do a serious piece of legislation at this size with this difficulty in this environment.”

“There’s not a chance immigration reform is going to pass through Congress,” he said.

Asked to describe what type of immigration reform Republicans would like to see, Boehner would only say he’s for a “bi-partisan conversation.”

He also said the American people are most concerned about jobs, and not other issues such as immigration. “It’s not where the America people are,” he said.

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